2014 an unforgettable year for Telangana
2014 was an emotional and a historic year for Telangana as the long-cherished dream of the land-locked region for a separate statehood finally became a reality after a long struggle.
Hyderabad: 2014 was an emotional and a historic year for Telangana as the long-cherished dream of the land-locked region for a separate statehood finally became a reality after a long struggle.
On June 2, Telangana became the country's 29th state but not before its share of suspense and controversies as skeptics and die-hard supporters debated for months as to whether the division would be clinched at all given the sharp division among the political class over the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh.
2014 was indeed a watershed year in the history of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh as it was bifurcated though the residuary state (post formation of Telangana) retains the old name.
The turbulence and tumult witnessed in Andhra Pradesh in 2013 continued in the early part of 2014 with the then Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who vehemently opposed his party's decision to divide the state, quitting his post and also Congress.
Capping months of tumult in and outside Parliament and an alleged TV blackout, the Lok Sabha approved the bill for formation of Telangana on February 18. The passage of the bill had unprecedented events like an MP using pepper spray on the floor of the House in an attempt to scuttle it.
As the countdown for the General Elections began, political developments occurred swiftly with Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which spearheaded the statehood agitation for over a decade, refusing to have an electoral alliance with Congress and TDP joining NDA.
Riding on a wave of support following formation of Telangana and election promises like loan waiver for farmers, TRS had a thumping victory at the hustings.
Congress would, probably, like to erase 2014 from its memory as it suffered a humiliating defeat in the elections though it "delivered" on the separate statehood demand. A divided house with a string of chief ministerial aspirants, Congress paid the price apparently due to lack of unity.
Adding insult to the injury, some Congress legislators left the party and joined TRS post formation of Telangana.
The TDP-BJP combine fared reasonably well in the elections though Congress emerged as the main Opposition party.
TRS leader K Chandrasekhar Rao, who assumed the office of Chief Minister on June 2, quickly got down to business as he sought to build a separate identity for the infant state and promote a brand image with Hyderabad as a magnet.
According to Andhra Pradesh Reorganiation Act, 2014, Hyderabad would remain a joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for 10 years after which it would become a part and parcel of Telangana.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, announced a slew of decisions on the twin fronts of welfare and development. He has also announced decisions like lifting of cases against those who were booked in the Telangana agitation, providing assistance to families of 'Telangana martyrs' (those who ended their lives for the sake of separate state) and announcing special increment to state government staff for their contribution to the cause.
On the welfare front, he announced funds substantially for farm loan waiver, input subsidy to farmers, social security pensions for the aged and widows, persons with disabilities, among others.
The state government embarked on an ambitious project of water grid and restoration of tanks (aiming to provide drinking water to all households), giving a face-lift for roads among many others.
It announced an ambitious industrial policy that promises to provide single-window mechanism to give faster clearances to project proposals.
The state government has grand plans to make Hyderabad a global city with 'Wi-Fi' connectivity, realising the ITIR project sanctioned by Centre and with construction of sky- scrapers. The government also plans to develop a pharma-chemical city and a film city.
The state government, however, faced criticism over a household survey in the state (which critics alleged was meant to identify Seemandhra natives) and alleged suicides of farmers and threats to media.
Meanwhile, the state government was engaged in a bitter war of words and disputes with Andhra Pradesh during the year over sharing of electricity, water, institutions based in Hyderabad and conduct of Intermediate examinations among others.